Jury selection underway for murder trial

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) - Jury selection is currently underway for a murder trial of an Abilene man accused of shooting and killing a woman in July of 2015.

In 2015, John Atkins was arrested for the murder of Latisha Hilley, 39, who was found deceased behind a residence near Pine Street and Summit Street.

He was previously tried for Possession of a Prohibited Weapon in Federal Court in connection to the murder, but that trial resulted in a mistrial due to a hung jury.

Court documents reveal Hilley was last seen alive when she was dropped of on S. 1st Street around 1:00 a.m. Her friends believe she was at Lake Ft. Phantom Hill with Atkins before she was shot and killed.

She had called these friends from his phone around 2:30 a.m., according to the documents which say she was found later that day with a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Police learned Atkins was the last person in contact with Hilley, and when they questioned him about Hilley's murder "his face became pale and he appeared to be extremely nervous", sweating, and visibly shaking, the documents read.

The documents say investigators then called the number Hilley had contacted her friends from which caused the phone in Atkins' pocket to ring. He was subsequently arrested and charged with 1st Degree Murder.

Forensic evidence confirms the gun recovered during the search of Atkins' vehicle is a match for the fatal bullet removed from Hilley's head, according to more court documents. 

Testimonials for the trial are expected to begin on Monday, January 29.

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